Hanging out with Robert Scoble and Joe Trippi
In advance of our peer media event yesterday in Seattle, I spent Tuesday evening hanging out with Robert Scoble, Joe Trippi, Joel Dreyfuss and Shel Israel. Text 100 sponsored the dinner to give each of the panelists an opportunity to meet before the event to sort out where each other stood on certain issues with respect to corporate blogging.
The discourse ranged from politics (Robert blogged about it here) to whether or not ‘publicists’ are obsolete, to the potential demise of traditional media (staunchly defended by Joel Dreyfuss). While there was some heated debated initially, (which in this case is a good thing) that quickly dissipated, giving way to consensus around a very important issue to our business: if you or your company view PR as being only about media relations, then you need to change your ways, because peer media has redistributed the power of influence.
And we could clearly see that this fact, and how to respond to it, was on the minds of the event attendees as comments and questions indicated that they were grappling with issues related to this power shift: how to identify who has influence in the blogosphere, how to measure ROI, how much resource to dedicate to following blogs, (an issue on which Scoble and I were split – which I’ll address in a seperate post), and how to convince senior management that PR should not be (as if it ever really was) only about media relations.
And these questions can impact larger companies (only 4% of Fortune 500 companies have corporate blogs), because they have become highly specialized in their approaches to communications – for example, people (and budgets) are sometimes dedicated only to media relations, and this fact makes it harder to redistribute both dollars and human activity to peer media. This is where we see smaller companies having some advantage (but only at the moment, and certainly not in all cases) because they tend to be able to take a more fluid approach to moving both dollars and activity around to match the opportunity peer media presents. For example, all of marketing can be just one or two people who realize starting a blog is a much more time and cost efficient channel to talk with customers than a printed newsletter.
But I think it’s important – as all the panelists pointed out – to understand that peer media is not an all or nothing proposition right now. At this point, if you and your company aren’t involved, you can begin easily by listening – reading blogs to learn what is being said about your company by bloggers. Once you understand the conversation, you see where you can make a contribution. And that only takes a little bit of time, and committment.
But enough for the moment – over the coming days I’ll take a look at some of the other topics we discussed and also get the podcast up.
I can’t thank our panelists enough for their contribution, it truly was an honor to be involved in this event.